We're less than two weeks away from the official start to E3 on June 12th. Before that, though, comes the unofficial kickoff, the part that most people following the event actually care about: the press conferences. If you can't be at the show, the publisher pressers are the moments for which you wait with bated breath to find out if that series you love is finally getting a sequel, or to see what your favorite studio has been up to these days.
These pressers are all fun and intrigue for enthusiasts, but for those working for the brands that week, they're high-stress situations. They need to get up on stage in front of countless people around the world, deliver their messaging clearly, and leave viewers with reasons to be excited. With more publishers doing some kind of presentation in 2018 than in any time in recent history, there will be another guaranteed news avalanche, but each publisher has several questions surrounding them that they must answer to satisfy their crowds. We decided to look at each of the publishers, in order of when they take to the stage (or stream) and focus on the most burning question facing each of them at E3.
Can EA repair their Star Wars reputation?There were rumors a while back that Disney was getting frustrated with EA's handling of the Star Wars license and would consider revoking it from them. Maybe that's not so easily done but the sentiments ring true. They canceled one game, botched the launch of another, and have at least one more in development that now seems to have a lot of pressure on it to be excellent. Lead by the team that created the wonderful Titanfall 2, we don't know much about this sequel other than it could be really cool. With so many eyes on Anthem this year, maybe EA thinks they don't need to show anything off from the mega-franchise, but a bit of saving face would go a long way. A look at this next Star Wars project that's more than a still image or a tour of the studio would begin to repair the bridge between EA and Star Wars fans — and its license holders for that matter.
Will the First Party Feel Like a Party?The exclusives debate has reached fever pitch over the past two years, thanks in part to the continued critical excellence of game after game for Sony and the resurgence of Nintendo as a major console player. Meanwhile, the Xbox brand has taken many PR hits for their cancellations, delays, and lackluster launches. Phil Spencer has assured inquiring minds that building their first-party catalog takes time, and no doubt it does, but for how much longer should we hold our breath? They've sought praise via the most powerful console and timed or exclusive content deals with third parties, but the Xbox faithful are wanting to hang their hats on something they can call prestigious and exclusive all to Microsoft. The cycle of Halo, Gears, and Forza has not been, in the eyes of many, adequately interrupted for a few years now, even with modest successes mixed in. They need a show-stealing game to appear this year. Will we get it?
What Exactly Is Falllout 76?Teases gave way to rumors which gave way to some confirmations, but we still don't really have a great idea of what Fallout 76 is going to be. Bethesda is touting this E3 showcase as their longest yet, which probably means they'll spend the bulk of their time with Vaultboy after showing off more of RAGE 2 and whatever that Prey expansion will be. Some have said Fallout 76 will further hone in on the base-building mechanics of the most recent game, and such news has been polarizing to fans. The 76 alost certainly implies this won't be like other games in the series, so what's the angle? Unlike the two above questions, this is at least one we feel very confident we'll have answered.
Will We Get Our First Look at Square Enix's Avengers Project?When the multi-game deal between Marvel and Square Enix was announced, we were only given a brief teaser and promised more in 2018. *Checks calendar* Well look at the time! With Square Enix hosting a pre-recorded E3 showcase of their own next weekend, they must have big stuff to share. Sure, that guarantees some news on KINGDOM HEARTS III, but could this be their big unveiling of The Avengers Project? We think so. The timing and fanfare seem right. As it's one of the biggest brands in the world right now, this game could make or break the future landscape for Marvel's push into games. It'll be interesting to see how they reveal this one.
Splinter Cell Is Real This Time, Right?Rumors of Splinter Cell returning have come attached to the last few E3 showcases from Ubisoft but each time they were proven premature. This year is apparently finally it though. Whispers have grown very loud lately that it's coming and the Walmart leak keeps seeming more truthful all the time. The more focused question, if we can safely assume Splinter Cell is on the way, is what will it look like? Ubisoft loves an open world these days, but Splinter Cell doesn't seem like it would fit that outline. Can they satisfy their intent to include multiplayer everywhere by going back to Spies versus Mercs mode, or maybe a new competitive mode? That way the story mode can remain true to itself. Then again, a bold new vision could work too. After such a long time away — five years! — it feels nice that this seems to finally be the return of Sam Fisher.
Just Four Games from Sony, or More Surprises?Sony has already come out to get ahead of the rumor mill to state clearly and plainly: there will only be four first-party games on display at E3. Those are The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, Death Stranding, and Spider-Man. They've made this abundantly clear so as not to get anyone's hopes up for nothing. Expect these and that's it. Naturally, the internet has since run wild with speculation as to what else they may reveal because we've apparently learned nothing. They did say they'll showcase third-party games as well, of course, but anyone waiting for more from their prestigious first-party studios is on a fool's errand, or so we think. In all honesty, we wouldn't be shocked if the show still manages to squeeze in one last surprise, maybe like a Bloodborne 2 debut, for example. It goes against everything they're telling us but the industry has bred secrecy as a primary language so now we can't help but read every press release like a Zodiac letter.
Is Super Smash Bros. Built from the Ground Up or a Fancy Port?If you own a Switch, the announcement earlier this year of a Smash Bros. game coming to the hybrid console was probably one of the best news stories all year for you. But we still don't know exactly what it'll be. A brand new sequel all new for Switch, or a port with some bonuses a la Mario Kart 8? Fans have seemed split on this as far as we can tell, as a certain contingent just likes the idea of portable Wii U Smash Bros. If that's all it is, the bonuses will mostly come in the new arenas and characters which begs the question, who will be added? This isn't a Nintendo site but we still have plenty of Nintendo fans. Who do you expect — or wish — to see making the jump to Smash on Switch?
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